So the Air Force wants to switch its maintenance publications over from a paper format to an electronic format. Makes sense. Keeping the technical library up to date for air operations is a huge, yet absolutely critical, task.
But according to this article, the Air Force is looking at putting the manuals on $3-4000 laptop computers.
E-tools help Air Force toss book out the window – Air Force News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq – Air Force Times.
The Air Force plans to purchase up to 40,000 laptops and convert 65,000 of its technical orders into digital format by fiscal 2012 to make maintenance and operations more efficient.
Ruggedized laptops called e-tools eventually will do away with more than 13 million pages of technical orders. Now, maintainers sometimes lug four or five heavy books of TOs into a C-17 only to discover the pages they need are in the library.
About 30,000 to 40,000 laptops — at a cost of $3,000 to $4,000 each — will be fielded as part of the program, which also includes hiring one computer-support technician for every 100 to 150 laptops. About 28,000 technical orders have been converted to digital format so far, said Paul Lyons, a logistics systems planner at Air Force Materiel Command.
Dude? Buy each wrench bender a Kindle (or similar e-reader) for about $200 a piece. Have them synched daily from a master library at the squadron level. and you’ll save a ton of money. The reader’s are small and light enough that the airmen can carry them with them up on maintenance stands, and cheap enough that dropping and busting one is not a federal case.
Heck, the Army is looking at issuing every soldier a smart phone. Maybe that’s an approach the Air Force might consider.